Took a walk along the river at Kempston Mill with JA this morning. The weather was a little disappointing after the lovely start the previous morning, this time it was overcast with a cold easterly wind.
Redwings were still showing in reasonable numbers as I headed down the concrete steps to the river and when I met up with JA a little further up stream a couple of Green Woodpeckers were calling back and forth.
We crossed the river at the Mill and continued up stream noting a Little Grebe about half way between the Mill bridge and the weir. We checked around the weir for Otter sign but there is nothing doing, it looks like they aren't coming down this far at the moment. The concrete outflow further up at the bypass is also clean of spraint so, despite my sighting just upstream from there recently, they obviously aren't using the area like they were last year.
We continued upstream stopping opposite Box End Park to scan the lake. A pair of Oystercatchers were displaying to each other on the Spit and a third was trying to keep out of the way. Having finished their ground based display the pair took to the air, noisily circling the the park together, great to see.
We continued up stream, checking various mud banks for tracks which were invariably dog or Mink, no Otter! Reaching the south end of Biddenham Loop CP we continued up stream, planning to take the southern exit from the park. A quick check past the first group of trees, where we could see up stream a good distance and there was an Otter working its way along the far side of the river. A quick revision to the plan and were were following the Otter up stream, trying to get ahead of it if possible. This proved more difficult than you might imagine as the Otter was moving quite quickly up stream. It looked like it was in get home mode rather than actively feeding. We finally caught up with it but it surfaced at just the wrong moment and spotted us. It lay on the surface for a moment looking at us before diving and disappearing. We stayed in the area for another 15 minutes but were unable to find the animal again.
Heading back we cut across the field between Great Denham and the Mill, where building works are well underway now with a new road in place. Skylarks still sing hopefully overhead but with the building work they are restricted to smaller and smaller areas for nesting. It's doubtful that the Lapwings will nest in the area either this year but you never know.
Back at the Mill we spotted a pair of Stock Doves in display flight together, seems spring is in the air despite the temperature!